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Tea tree oil and dogs – Is it safe?

Tea tree oil and dogs – Is it safe?
Tea tree oil and dogs

Tea tree oil is one of the most used essential oils. We use it in many different situations because it is antibacterial. For example, we use it to heal acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus, and insect bites. But what we’re not thinking about is the usage of tea tree oil for dogs.

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If tea tree oil is such a wonder worker, can it be used on dogs too? More importantly, is tea tree oil safe for dogs?

That is definitely a question that needs a detailed answer.

Tea tree oil and dogs

The first question we need to answer would definitely be “Is tea tree oil toxic to dogs”. The short answer is no, tea tree oil is definitely not safe for any pet. However, we do need to go into more detail on this.

Obviously, this essential oil has many beneficial properties. It’s antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial, which is why it’s included in skincare products, and if you’ve notices it has even made its way into pet products!

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Now you might be wondering “How can it be in pet products if it’s not safe?”.

Well, undiluted tea tree oil should definitely not be anywhere near your pet. However, products that contain minimal amounts of tea tree oil, where the oil is actually diluted are somewhat safe!

Diluted oil

When buying products for your dog you’ve probably noticed that many contain tea tree oil. Those products actually contain a very small amount of tea tree oil usually between .1 to 1%.

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This means that those products you see in the pet shop have actually been formulated so that the tea tree oil is significantly diluted. The amount of the tea tree oil in those products is so low, that they can’t be considered toxic to your dog.

tea tree oil dog shampoo

We also need to make it clear that those products were made by professionals. People who know how to make a tea tree oil dogs shampoo that won’t be toxic. However, this also means that you should not DIY your own tea tree shampoo for your pet! Please only use pet- and vet-approved, fully tested products!

No actual benefits

Even though many people claim that tea tree oil has many benefits for your pet, this is actually not proven!

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All those claims that tea tree oil can help with skin issues, ear infections, and even flea prevention, have actually never been studied nor proven effective!

Besides this, we’ve already told you that safe tea tree dog products contain only 1 to 2 percent of tea tree. But the problem is that 1 or 2 percent is such a small amount that it doesn’t even have any benefits for your dog.

Tea tree oil poisoning

Given the fact that tea tree oil can be found in so many households in one shape or another, the question arises what if my dog gets exposed to it?

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We don’t want to freak you out, but please under no circumstances should your pet get in contact with pure, undiluted tea tree oil.

According to Pet Poison Hotline, “as little as 7 drops of 100 percent oil has resulted in severe poisoning, and applications of 10-20 ml of 100 percent oil have resulted in poisoning and death in both dogs and cats.”

It’s exactly those antibacterial properties of tea tree oil that are toxic to pets. Basically the terpenoids in the oil that effectively fight against bacteria and fungi are very easily absorbed into the body that are toxic to pets.

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Even if you’re only using it externally there is still a chance that your dog might lick the tea tree off.

Symptoms of poisoning

Tea tree oil should never be used externally no internally. If you use it externally, the oil can in fact get absorbed through the dog’s skin and have a highly toxic effect on your pet.

The symptoms of tea tree oil poisoning will appear within hours and include:

  • Weakness
  • Hypothermia
  • Liver failure
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • And even death

What’s also scary about tea tree oil poisoning is that there is no antidote. In the case of poisoning dogs are treated are treated symptomatically.

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This includes skin decontamination, induced vomiting, intravenous fluids, and medications that help to protect the liver.

Conclusion

In conclusion, even if there are certain benefits of tea tree oil for dogs, the risks outweigh them. Even though you might buy a technically safe tea tree oil product for your pet, there are still certain risks. It’s simply not worth it.

However, if your dog gets exposed to tea tree oil, please contact your vet immediately, especially if your pet is showing signs of being poisoned! Your vet will know what to do to help your beloved pooch.

And lastly, even if your dog gets in contact with tea tree oil, please do not panic and know that a quick response on your end can save their life!